NASA captured on camera a powerful double prominence solar eruption of super-hot plasma on Friday, November 16. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) offers this view via a high-definition video of the "double prominence" eruption.
According to NASA, between 1 and 5 a.m. EST on November 16, the Sun came alive with a double prominence eruption, one after the other over a four-hour period, sending red-glowing looped material or plasma into space. Digital Journal reports solar plasma is hot gas made up of electrically charged hydrogen and helium.
According to NASA, the eruption was captured by its Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) in the 304 Angstrom wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light.
Space.com reports the prominence was so large that it shot beyond the camera view of NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) which captured a high-definition video of the eruption (see video above).
The photo below shows the Sun with the double prominence that erupted on November 16. The video shows a massive twin loop of hot plasma erupting from the lower left and extending out of the view of the SDO's camera.
Giant solar flare: November 16, 2012
According to Space.com, NASA officials at the Goddard Space Flight Center in charge of the SDO mission, said: "The red-glowing looped material is plasma, a hot gas made of electrically charged hydrogen and helium. The prominence plasma flows along a tangled and twisted structure of magnetic fields generated by the sun’s internal dynamo. An erupting prominence occurs when such a structure becomes unstable and bursts outward, releasing the plasma."
Fortunately, the eruption was not in the direction of the Earth. It is, therefore, expected to have no significant effect on us.
The latest flare follows a powerful one that erupted on Monday (November 12) and registered as an M6-class eruption. It created a geomagnetic storm on Tuesday and Wednesday that supercharged the Earth's auroras causing magnificent northern lights display.
Digital Journal reports that the most powerful flares aimed at the Earth can pose a threat to satellites and astronauts, disrupt power grids and interfere with communication, navigation and power systems.
Digital Journal also reports that recent powerful flares are a part of a general pattern of heightened solar activity. According to astronomers, the Sun is moving toward peak activity in its 11-year cycle around 2013. We should, therefore, expect to see more solar flares, especially in 2013.
Space.com reports the cycle is called called Solar Cycle 24.